Sunday, May 24, 2009


In an unexpected turn of events, Lost has increased my cultural awareness in Spanish-speaking countries. Sawyer was mid-arrest by the Others when the word esposas came up as a subtitle. (Huh? Alrighty. I must have missed something, because esposa means wife, and there is no wife in this scene; and nor is Sawyer married, because he would never settle down like that.)

Then it happened again: Ponle las esposas!

(Put the wives on him?? What are we talking about?)

Indeed! the translation for handcuffs is the same as the Spanish plural for "wife."

Before my brain delved into the sociological significance of this translation, it took a brief but important detour, in which I imagined two doll-sized but life-like trophy wives in red Jessica Rabbit dresses wrapped around Sawyers wrists.

Apparently, the words share the same etymological root: the latin word spondere, which means to promise.

Even with this academic explanation, I had a hard time wrapping my brain around the idea that these two words are IDENTICAL. But it actually makes some sense in Venezuela, where the term cuaima is popular.

Cuaima literally means "snake," but in Venezuela it more commonly refers to a woman who, according to my googling, is "trained since childhood to screw men over and to be suspicious, jealous, possessive, manipulative, dominating, controlling, fear-inducing."

If I, as a theoretical man, had committed my life to a wife with those traits, I might also theoretically feel imprisoned.


Angie said...

1I think an English equivalent to "snake" would be "shrew" (as in Taming of the...) Love. Angie

Gina said...

think of some of the other words with that root:

girl, you always teaching me something new!

Anonymous said...

I love that coincidence. So charming,

Anonymous said...

great article. I would love to follow you on twitter.